Re: Favorite Sci-fi
Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:50 pm
Oh, you would ask about my favorite Sci-Fi. Why do people do this too me???!!!!!!!
I have been a Sci-Fi fanatic since I was 6 years old and found a copy of Citizen of the Galaxy ( One of Heinlein's Junior series Sci-Fi novels). Just weeks later I saw my first episode of Star Trek ( no bloody TNG, DS9, or Voyager, this was back in the day when Cable was a new thing, and there in Portland, Ore, we had a grand total of five channels to watch, and one of those Public Access) which happened to be Plato's Stepchildren ( yes, I still remember to this day what the first Episode of ST I ever saw was...leave me alone!). And it was about 9 months later that I was sitting in the front row, center seat, to watch a brand new Sci-Fi movie, called Star Wars. But, the subject was Favorite Sci-FI...
For Television :
TOS, DS9, Enterprise, TNG, Voyager, in that order.
Each series has it's flaws, and each series has it's fantasticness ( is that a word, I wonder?). I was wholly depressed when they canceled Enterprise after season 4, which was by far the best of the seasons, in which every episode just got better.
The only B5 item I did not care for was The Lost Tales. ( Well, I wasn't particularly fond of Crusade, but I was hoping it would succeed, as it did have potential.) OK, the first half of the first season was a little goofy, but as someone who had watched the movie on it's first run and said "Gee, I hope they make another one of those", I still enjoyed the heck out of it. It was a fresh concept, with writers and effects wizards that paid attention to the laws of Physics, and, more importantly, didn't start out with the concept that Human's were automatically superior to everyone else just because they were human. Just knowing from the start that the humans had had the ever loving fecal matter kicked out of them by the Mimbari made the show far more believable than most other Sci-FI shows out there. And, of course, the characters. Nowhere in that entire show is there one perfect, outstanding, man/woman demi-god archetype. Everyone had their flaws, even the God-Like Kosh, which made all of them feel like real people, and made the show that much more watchable.
I have to give a major shout-out to this show. The entire concept was bizarre, but the way it was done was perfect. The effects were excellent, the writing was good, and the actors played their parts well. Given proper advertising, and a better starting Network, I think this show would have gone far. Sadly, it was never really given much of a chance.
I've seen a lot of discussion on this here, so I thought I'd throw in my 7 and a half dollars ( adjusted for inflation).
When I first started watching The Doctor, it was Tom Baker, that weirdo in the Scarf. The FX were Campy, even for it's day, the writing was often ludicrous, and the acting was just barely this side of watchable. And yet, somehow, all of that worked, making it what is now widely recognized as the single longest running Sci-FI show in television history. I have only managed to find a very few of the original Doctor Who stories, which includes a highly corrupted version of the original introduction of the Cybermen, but those I have found, I have enjoyed immensely. Watching the Black and White base stories for the show you find that the FX and writing were always Campy, and that they were meant to be from the start. I love the new Doctor Who series. I was sad to see Eccelson ( sp?) go after only one season, but Tennant continued the story quite well. I"m going to be very interested to see what S4 is like. ( I really wish that Sarah Jane had rejoined the Doctor for a little while, even if only for one season, rather than being given her own show. I watched half of the first episode, and nearly evacuated my stomach contents. 'Nuff Said.)
Continuing the story of Captain Jack Harkness, I love this series. From what I understand S3 is going to be a somewhat different format, something along the lines of a group of Mini-series while a new Writer settles in. That's fine with me, as long as they keep the actors the same.
Heinlein. Pure and simple. In his early years ( pre-1980) his stories incorporate hard science into his Science Fiction. Like Asimov ( who I will get to shortly) he envisioned many ideas that later became reality, the mark of a true SCIENCE fiction author. Very few people realize that he actually invented the Waterbed. ( For the complete story, read Expanded Universe.) He also nearly correctly described the first spaceship to place a manned mission on the moon ( his rocket had five stages, instead of three, and only carried one person, but he wrote "The Man Who Sold the Moon" in 1949, and he was working with 1949 Technology to work out his story.)
Asimov. Another Quintessential Author who used hard Science in his novels. Not only did he invent the concept of a series of artificial satellites circling the earth to form a communication network, but he is also credited with the concept of a Space Station, and with coining the term Robot. And, his novels, much like Heinlein's, are just plain old fashioned Good Reads. The kind of book you sit down with, with your drink of choice handy, and lose yourself in for 3 or 4 hours.
Thorarnin Gunnarsson : The Starwolves.
The setting : the 5020th century. The concept : Humans as the Evil...
50,000 years ago Mankind spread to the stars. Over the course of many Centuries, the Terran Republic was created. And then, Greed began to crop up. Humanity became split into two factions, the Republic, and the Union. For it's people, the Republic wants nothing but freedom. The Union sis controlled by Barons, each of which runs a Company. The idea : Profit, at any, and all, cost.
Beaten and scattered, the Terran Republic turns to an enigmatic, and powerful, alien Race, called the Aldessan, to save them. The Aldessan take human DNA, and create a new race, designed for war.
Small, four armed, and elfin, the Kelvessan are Humanities superior in every way. With bones laced with iron they can withstand far greater stresses than their Human predecessors, with senses that can feel the Drive Units of starships, even through the cold depths of space. Given one man Fighters, each capable of destroying even the largest Union Warship, and Carriers with weapons capable of converting entire planets to balls of plasma, you would think the war would have been short. But, when there are so few Starwolves, and so many in the Union, the war drags on for 50,000 years.
But now, a new Kelvessan has been born. His name is Velmeran. And he is the one the Aldessan have been watching for...
Four extremely good novels. Form the very first page I was unable to put these books down.
Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. Authors of such Star Trek Novels as Prime Directive, and the Millennium trilogy for DS9. So well known in the Star Trek field that not only did they assist ( and probably write most of) William Shatner on his Star Trek novels, but they actually were brought in to assist with season 4 of Star Trek : Enterprise, and, IMHO, are probably responsible for that season having been so good.
Larry Niven ( and Jerry Pournelle)
If you have never read any of this man's ( these men's) work, you have been missing out.
By himself, Niven has created novel after novel containing some of the best Sci-FI on the Market. From the Ringworld series, to the Integral Trees, this man takes his time, researches the science behind his ideas, and produces work that is wholly fantastic.
Put him with Pournelle, and the two of them weave stories that capture the mind, and will never let it go. " The Mote in God's Eye" and "Footfall" being just two examples of this fabulous work.
And, a final word...
David Gerrold. Perhaps best known as the author of the famous Star Trek : TOS episode " The Trouble with Tribbles", this man happens to be one fo the most prolific, and interesting, novelists of the past 40 years. Whether it is the "Star Wolf" series ( 4 so far), the War against the Chtorr ( 4 so far, with #5 due out soon) or his single shot stories such as "The Man who Folded Himself", Gerrold is by far one of the top ten authors of the 20th century.
And, on to movies...
1) Star Wars 5, 4, 6, 3, 2, 1 in that order.
2) Star Trek 2,4,1,6,7,5,8,3,9,10 in that order.
I'm not going to explain either of those sets....I don't have 4 hours to kill....
3) Battle Beyond the Stars.
A B rated journey, this movie would likely not rate high on most people's lists, but it's on mine, here, for one simple reason. The first Sci-Fi production to star the make-up effects of Roger Corman. If I have to tell you who he is, you don't know Sci-Fi at all.
4) The Last Starfighter.
Another B rated, and Underrated if you ask me, movie, this hits my list for the simple fact that it was the first full length feature film to include a sequence ( and a long one, I might add) created solely through CGI. Watching it now, it looks goofy, but for the time, it was truly state of the art.
5) Men in Black.
Totally a comedy, and yet with such awesome FX, great writing, and even better acting. My all time #1 favorite Tommy Lee Jones ( one of my top five actors of all time, just behind Morgan Freeman) quotes comes from this movie.
" Don't 'Sir' me young man, you have no idea who you are dealing with."
Boy, it's a good thing you didn't add Fantasy to Sci-Fi, as many people often make the mistake of doing, or I would have been writing for another hour or so....
Re: Favorite Sci-fi
Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:00 pm
I could be wrong, but didn't Tron have fully CGI sequences well before Last Starfighter?
Not as long, or as intricate of course, but still there.
Still, it's fun to watch both on a cold day just to see how far CGI came in the two years between the two releases.
Re: Favorite Sci-fi
Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:05 pm
1973 - Westworld - first ever use of CGI in a movie - the gunslinger's point of view was achieved using 2D Raster Scans
1973 - Soylent Green - the earliest ever arcade video game - Computer Space - makes an appearance. The game appeared a year before Pong.
1976 - Futureword - Peter Fonda's face was digitised to store it in the computer's memory banks
1977 - Star Wars (A New Hope) - First Animated 3D Wireframe graphics appear of the Death Star in the Rebel Alliance's briefing room
1978 - Superman - First movie title featuring CG Animation
1979 - The Black Hole - more 3D Animated Wireframe graphics appear in the opening title sequence - receives an Oscar nomination
1979 - Alien - Raster Wireframe model rendering seen in the navigation monitors
1981 - Looker - Cindy becomes the first human CG character in a scene in which she is digitised. This was also the first film to used shaded 3D CGI
1982 - Tron - First extensive use of CGI in a movie, with around 20-minutes of digital imagery. Also includes early attempts at facial animation.
1982 - Where the Wild Things Are - Disney produced test footage that included traditional hand drawn animation with computer generated background images
1982 - Star Trek II (The Wrath of Khan) - The Genesis Effect animation sequence features the first use of fractal generated langscapes with a particle rendering system - done by Pixar (which was then a branch of Lucasfilm)
1984 - The Last Starfighter - This was the first film to use CGI for all spaceships, planets and hi-tech hardware shots rather than a traditional physical model approach. This was the first time the audience was asked to accept the computer generated images as photorealistic rather than something abstract.
and there's a lot more